As a New Professional ACTE Fellow, I get the amazing opportunity to interact with the very best people, and when I say the very best, I mean it. My mentor is Alexandra Harkelroad from Indianapolis, Indiana. She is currently an instructor at Walker Career Center where she teaches the Education Professions career pathway and is also the department chair. While I am a Culinary Instructor, having a mentor who is also at a career center is just what I needed! Our buildings and our programming are set up differently from the traditional high school, so having a mentor that “gets it” is wonderful. Our first “meeting” over Google Meet was just as one would expect it to be from two FACS teachers… fast and furious, fun and full of meaningful conversation. I am an old lady that has adult children, where Alex is young with little guys still at home so I wanted to make sure I respected every second of her time she was giving to me.
Alex and I have so many things in common, one being that we both decided on becoming a FACS educator due to strong connections to our own middle and high school teachers. These connections helped both of us choose this exciting and ever evolving career pathway. We both also love to meet new people that can rejuvenate our love for the FACS field. Going to conferences and learning from others’ best practices is the best way to grow and develop our own tools in our toolboxes. As we were finishing up our first meeting, I confessed to Alex that at times I feel very guilty… I absolutely love what I do and love my student chefs. While so many in education are struggling every day, I feel blessed to get to put on my chef coat every day and step into the kitchen to instruct, lead, and get to know these young chef’s minds and lifelong dreams. Alex told me what all good mentors would say to their new protege, don’t feel guilty! Feel blessed to know that you have that situation this year and treasure it to have when the days aren’t so great. I am blessed to have been named a New Professional ACTE Fellow for 2022 and look forward to more time getting to know my mentor.
RIII New Professional Fellow